Guideline to help provide clarity for Canadian women and their
OTTAWA, Nov. 21, 2011 /CNW/ - The Canadian Task Force on Preventive
Health Care (Task Force) today released an updated guideline for breast
cancer screening in average risk women aged 40 - 74. The Guideline,
prepared by an independent panel of 14 clinicians and experts in
research, prevention, and primary care in Canada, is published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.110334).
The new Guideline, which weighs the potential harms of false positives
and unnecessary biopsies against the potential benefits of breast
cancer screening in average risk women, updates prior guidelines by the
Task Force from 1994 and 2001.
"As the Guideline on Breast Cancer Screening was last updated in 2001
and breast cancer screening has since become a subject for discussion
amongst doctors and patients, the revitalized Canadian Task Force
selected breast cancer screening as the topic for its first guideline,"
said Dr. Marcello Tonelli, Chair of the Task Force on Preventive Health
Care and Associate Professor at the University of Alberta, Department
of Medicine, in Edmonton, Alberta. "We intend that the Guideline, which
reflects that latest scientific evidence in breast cancer screening, be
used to guide physicians and their patients in the optimum use of
mammograms and breast examination."
The Guideline, aimed at physicians and policy makers, provide
recommendations for mammography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
breast self-exams and clinical breast exams by clinicians. It targets
average-risk women in three age groups (40-49 years, 50-69 and 70-74
years) who have not had breast cancer and do not have a family history
of breast cancer in a mother, sister or daughter.
"Providing Canadians with guidelines that reflect the most current
scientific evidence is our priority," said Dr. Richard Birtwhistle,
Vice-Chair of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care and
Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and
Epidemiology and Director of the Centre for Studies in Primary Care at
Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. "We encourage every woman to
discuss the benefits and risks of screening with their doctor before
deciding on the best approach for them."
The new Guideline is consistent with current clinical practice. The
Guideline now recommends routine screening for women 50-74 instead of
50-69. To provide women in this target age group with more flexibility,
the screening interval has also been extended from every 2 years, which
is current clinical practice, to every 2-3 years. For average risk
women aged 40-49, the recommendation is not to screen with mammography
- a slight change from current practice in most organized provincial
and territorial screening programs, which is to not actively recruit
women in this age category.
The main recommendations of the Guideline include:
Average risk women 40-49: Task Force recommends not routinely screening
Average risk women 50-74: Task Force recommends routinely screening
every 2 to 3 years
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Task Force recommends not routinely screening with MRI
Clinical Breast Exam (examination performed by a health professional): Task Force recommends not routinely performing clinical breast exams
Breast Self-Exam (self-examination of the breast): Task Force recommends physicians not advising women to routinely
practice breast self-exams
For the complete report and details of the recommendations, please visit
About the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care
The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care has been established to develop clinical practice guidelines that
support primary care providers in delivering preventive health care.
The mandate of the Task Force is to develop and disseminate clinical
practice guidelines for primary and preventive care, based on
systematic analysis of scientific evidence.
SOURCE The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care
For further information:
or to schedule an interview with a member of the Task Force, please contact:
David Rodier, Hill & Knowlton
Leigha Cotton, Hill & Knowlton